July 17, 2019
Allotments need to be planned
Allotments seem to suffer from a problem of perception. Even in today’s policy climate in which food growing is increasingly prominent, and with the prospect of new legislation being brought forward to confirm Scotland as a Good Food Nation, the evidence suggests that most local authority planners still regard food growing simply as a leisure activity and as such fail to prioritise food growing when considering land use in local plans. While highlighting some notable exceptions in Aberdeenshire and East Lothian, SAGS have just published a nicely illustrated guide for the rest of the country’s planners.
The Scottish Allotments and Garden Society are pleased to announce the publication of a ‘Plan to Grow – A Planning Guide for Allotments’, author Steven Tolson, Consulting. The intention of this guide, funded by Awards for All Scotland part of the National Lottery, with help from Planning Aid Scotland is to help inform Scottish Local Planning Authorities about the importance of food growing in our local communities. Further copies of this report along with a more detailed report are available as downloads from our website
The Society and its members are aware that proposals within the current Planning Bill are for local communities to have a greater role in the planning process including the development of ‘Local Place Plans’. As an organisation we are very supportive of the planning commitment to a ‘plan led’ approach and creating better and healthier Scottish places. Clearly, we believe to achieve better places there needs to be a commitment to providing more land for growing local food.
Such a commitment is wholly in line with the Scottish Government’s aspirations to become a ‘Good Food Nation’ by 2025. The Scottish Food Industry is a very important part of the Scottish economy and local non-commercial food growing production should be recognised for its growing contribution. The ‘Plan to Grow’ guide makes some important points about the wider health and well-being benefits of food growing for individuals and crucially argues that growing one’s own food makes a significant contribution to social interaction and cohesive communities. As you know such attributes are all part of a spatial planner’s tool kit.
With the enactment of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 legislation now being exercised by communities across Scotland, the provisions of the Act will have an increasing influence on the way local development plans are prepared and agreed. Specifically, the provisions of Part 9 of the Empowerment legislation along with the supporting guidance highlights the roles and responsibilities of local authorities in the provision of land for food growing and its future management. To this end, as key land management professionals, the Guide argues that Planners will inevitably have an important role to play in identifying and facilitating more land for food growing as part of the wider objective of making better places for Scotland.
The Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society hope that the Guide will assist you and your planning colleagues in developing policies for local food growing that achieve a wide beneficial impact for Scottish community well-being.